(18) Running time: 78 mins
Director: Glen Ciano
Writers: Glen Ciano
Starring: Robert Englund, William Forsythe, Joey Fatone, Michelle Ray Smith
Reviewed by: David Gillespie, official HCF artist
The early 1980’s was the most successful period for the b-movie horror film. The home video market was going through its boom period leading to a flood of low budget movies hitting the shelves attracting potential rental customers with their shocking and inventive cover artwork. Video rental retailers started to appear all over the place to take advantage of this lucrative form of home entertainment. In my home town of Abronhill in Lanarkshire we even had a fruit van that used rent out VHS and Beta videos!
Interesting that new blood director, Glenn Ciano should promote his self written, shlock horror flick as a throwback to the 1980 glory years. Robert Englund, a promoter of young directorial talent, certainly believed there was enough potential and invention in Ciano to accept the lead villain role in the project.
In a mental institution, a recently admitted detective called Caretti (Joey Fatone) recalls the grisly events of an evening at Woodhaven police station where the skeleton crew are visited by an ancient demon called Inkubus (Robert Englund). He has returned to gain his vengeance on the Detective Gil Diamante (William Forsythe) who almost destroyed him thirteen years ago. A night of terror and torment ensues for the police staff, a young inmate and a female psychologist as they get despatched one by one by the shape changing Inkubus. His weapon of choice is a rather deadly blade contraption that he wields to amputate and decapitate victims. Diamante reluctantly returns to the police station to face the beast that destroyed his family and friends during their first encounter. Can both Diamante and Caretti bring about an end to this evil once and for all?
Inkubus might not be a groundbreaking entry in the horror genre but it is certainly gory, beer movie fun. It is a strange mix of Demon Knight blended with Attack on Precinct 13, without reaching the schlocky heights of both of these projects. The production’s main strength is the inclusion of Englund who is clearly enjoying himself in his familiar bogeyman role. He is armed with a briefcase full of one liners and terrible puns that he only gets away with because of his fiendish charm. The ever reliable, William Forsythe (Devil’s Rejects, Halloween) goes for a more restrained approach as Englund’s old adversary and the movie works best when they are both on screen together. All other performers are fine if not forgettable. Joe Fatone proves to be competant as the square jawed hero and Michelle Ray Smith copes reasonably well as the feisty female cop. Although she will win no acting awards in the near future, she is sprawled on an office desk with very little clothing within the first 10 minutes of the running time which will please the male beer swilling community.
Due to the budget constraints of the project there are countless scenes with characters running around wobbly corridors and jail cells. The director decides fairly early on that he will be going for gore effects rather than genuine suspense or chills. This approach works fine apart from Ciano’s rather iritating habit of repeating certain sequences throughout the action. A moderately effective opening scene involving an ‘alien inspired’ birth with blood splattered, demon muppet is needlessly used on several ocassions and starts to become tiresome rather than unsettling.
Apparently the production was wrapped up and completed in 15 days. This might explain the rather abrupt ending where Englund, Forsythe and Fatone square up for one final battle. Before you can finish another swig of your can the end credits begin sprawling down your TV screen.
Inkubus is by no means the worst of its genre. It features an on form Robert Englund, moves at a good pace and at just over an hour running time, does not overstay its welcome. So sit back with a good six pack and curry and enjoy yourself.